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LALIGA

Primera predictions: LaLiga 2018-19 week 24

Primera predictions: LaLiga 2018-19 week 24

TIZIANA FABI

AFP

Real Madrid host Girona as Santiago Solari is expected to rotate a number of players; while Barcelona welcome Valladolid.

Eibar – Getafe (Friday 21:00) Prediction: home win 

Eibar’s recent record, particularly at home, should give Gunners fans plenty to shout about when Getafe roll into town for the ever-popular Friday night game. José Luis Mendilibar’s haven’t been beaten at Ipurua since September and have knocked off Espanyol and Girona 3-0 in their last two at home. Geta have won only three away all season and have drawn five of their last seven outside the Coliseum, scoring just six times, so the home side should be considered favourites to continue their recent run.

Celta – Levante (Saturday 13:00) Prediction: home win

Levante have been on a woeful run of late, winning one of their last nine (against Valladolid) and suffering 5-0 thrashings at the hands of Barcelona and Sevilla and losing four on the trot on the road. Celta are hardly in better shape but a 1-0 victory over Sevilla in their last game at Balaídos was a glimmer of dry land in a sea of defeats and lifted Miguel Cardoso’s side out of the drop zone. The Celta boss is still on thin ice and needs a win, which the fit-again Iago Aspas will go some way to providing.

Rayo – Atlético (Saturday 16:15) Prediction: away win

Rayo haven’t beaten a Madrid-based rival since 2015-16 (Getafe 2-0) and haven’t got the better of Atlético since 2012-13. Diego Costa is fit again after a lengthy lay-off and will feature at some stage against his former club but while it would be fun to see the Spain striker up front with Álvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann, Diego Simeone’s cautious nature will probably see Costa start on the bench. Thomas is suspended and Lucas Hernández injured but otherwise the Atlético boss has a full complement of players,which is a rare occurrence this season, and that does not bode well for Rayo, who have lost their last two against significantly less imposing opposition.

Real Sociedad – Leganés (Saturday 18:30) Prediction: home win (leave)

Sociedad are on a bit of a roll under Imanol, who is unbeaten in six since taking over the riens at Anoeta, where he has also consigned his side’s dreadful record under his predecessor Eduardo Berizzo to history. Willian José and Mikel Oyarzabal starred in the derby win over Athletic and if they are in the mood Leganés will have little to counter the home side’s attacking panache having shipped 18 away from home this season for a return of two victories outside Butarque.

Barcelona – Valladolid (Saturday 20:45) Prediction: home win

Ernesto Valverde will rest plenty of his key players for this one with a Champions League game against Lyon coming up but Valladolid’s last two away days have reaped two defeats against Levante and Huesca with an aggregate score of 0-6. Against a side who have banged in 38 at Camp Nou this season and been beaten only once – and Betis needed to score four to do that – there won’t be many punters having a pop on an away win on Saturday evening.

Real Madrid – Girona (Sunday 12:00) Prediction: home win

Girona are without a win since November and were beaten 7-3 on aggregate by Real in the Copa del Rey quarters, adding to the pressure mounting on Eusebio. The Basque side’s owners will not be expecting a miracle against the European champions, who have won their last five in LaLiga to move up to second and within touching distance of Barcelona. Luka Modric is banned but otherwise Santiago Solari has pretty much a full squad to choose from and with Karim Benzema and Vinicius firing in tandem up top it could be a long 90 minutes for the visitors.

Valencia – Espanyol (Sunday 16:15) Prediction: home win

Valencia’s upward curve in LaLiga has seen Marcelino’s side go five unbeaten and a 2-0 victory over Celtic in Glasgow has pretty much wrapped up Los Che’s progression to the last 16 of the Europa League. There will be changes in Mestalla but Valencia have emptied their sick bay with only Santi Mina due to sit this one out. Four points from six has eased the crisis at the RCDE a little but the Parakeets are terrible on the road and will miss the creative spark provided by Pablo Piatti in Mestalla with the former Valencia man out for the rest of the season.

Villarreal – Sevilla (Sunday 18:30) Prediction: draw 

Both sides were in midweek action and will carry 1-0 advantages into the second legs of their Europa League ties, which for Villarreal could be considered an unwanted sideshow to the more serious business of avoiding relegation. Javi Calleja has steadied the ship with a couple of draws since returning to La Cerámica and both sides will probably settle for that with Sevilla scrapping for the Champions League on two fronts and the small matter of Barcelona to consider after their return leg against Lazio.

Betis – Alavés (Sunday 20:45) Prediction: draw 

Betis are starting to suffer under the strain of so many fixtures and the 3-3 draw at Rennes laid bare Quique Setién’s shortages, with Joaquín filling in at right back. Junior Firpó will be missing in the Villamarín after picking up an injury in midweek, adding to Betis’ defensive issues for the visit of Alavés, who will be looking to arrest a recent slide of two away drubbings to build on last weekend’s home win over Levante, a first victory in five overall.

Huesca – Athletic (Monday 21:00) Prediction: draw

Athletic’s 0-0 draw at Camp Nou was another step in the right direction under Gaizka Garitano even if results elsewhere saw the Lions slip down the table. Now up to 13th after a return of 16 points in nine games under the former Eibar and Depor coach, Athletic can start thinking about moving up towards the top 10 with Europe only eight points above their current position. Huesca boss Francisco has been getting good mileage out of his switch to a 5-3-2, gaining more points from his side’s last three games than in the 12 before than since he took over, and the home side will fancy their chances of at least squeezing a point out this one with the visitors a little light due to injuries and suspensions.